Novels about doctors typically are tales about hard-working young men from poor families who, armed with only a stethescope, battle for justice, hand-washing, and marriage to millionaire’s daughters.
Mary Roberts Rinehart’s The Doctor follows in that tradition.
The Doctor by Mary Roberts Rinehart
©1935, 1936, 1963, 1964. This copy a Dell Edition, 1977 (paper) 448 pp. My grade B-.
He has rented office space and a bedroom from a shiftless family, the Walters, whose sole support he becomes when the alcoholic head of the family dies.
Katie Walters is in love with the doctor with a 16-year-old’s passion.
But Chris falls for the daughter of a wealthy, unscrupulous businessman. He won’t think of marrying until he can support her.
Beverly Lewis is equally smitten with Chris but unwilling to wait years for him to build a practice.
Chris is not a particularly appealing character. He’s nice to dogs and old ladies, but treats those closest to him as if they were furniture.
Katie and Beverly are not appealing either: Katie is too selfish, Beverly too much of a doormat.
The romantic ending is a deus ex machina that squeaks as Rinehart lowers it into the final chapter.
The Doctor is not a bad novel; it’s just bad compared to other Rinehart novels.
©2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni